A Beach Lover’s Winter Getaway to Cat Island, Bahamas

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I celebrated a certain “big” birthday in the Caribbean. Cat Island, Bahamas is a dreamy place. It’s one of the six Bahamas Out Islands, which also include The Abacos, Acklins, Andros, The Berry Islands, and Bimini. It truly is my island paradise.

There are no high-rise hotels, five-star restaurants, shopping malls or casinos here. If that’s what you’re looking for, I recommend you opt for more popular Bahamas destinations, like Nassau or Grand Bahama.

Cat Island was right up my alley: Long stretches of powdery pink sand to myself, al fresco dining along the tranquil, aqua sea, unsurpassed Bahamian hospitality, and one incredible sunset after another. 

In this article, you will…

Discover an Island Paradise in Fernandez Bay Village Resort

This picturesque and friendly island is an ideal place for disconnecting from technology and leaving the cold weather and daily hustle behind. Clearly, it was a perfect fit for this laid back couple.

island paradise at the beach on Cat Island
Crystal. Clear. Water.
Take only memories, leave only footprints
“Take only memories, leave only footprints.” My feet sank in the powdery pink sand. Secluded beaches stretch eight miles along the eastern coast of Cat Island.
A whelk shell washed ashore on Cat Island Bahamas
A lovely pink whelk shell washed ashore on Cat Island, Bahamas. Souvenir!
aqua sea and pink sand on Cat Island Bahamas
Aqua sea, pink sand…how does it get better than this?
toes in the sand at the beach
My feet in the sand = HAPPY!

Escape to The Royal Palm Cottage

I spent eight days at Fernandez Bay Village Resort in November for a much-needed escape from cold New England weather. The hurricane season had cleared out, missing the island as it usually does, and the resort had just opened for business. I enjoyed the company of two couples, a solo traveler, and a young group from Germany who was island hopping by private plane.

With so few guests, the hosts upgraded me to the Royal Palm Cottage, a large private room with a wraparound porch just steps from the pristine water. The room was air-conditioned and had a private, open-air bathroom. How wonderful to shower with warm breezes and a view of the sky!

A Taste of Island Life

Every morning offered a full buffet breakfast to start the day off right. My days were tranquil. I relaxed, swam, read, napped. When I felt like it, I kayaked, took a short boat ride, and walked along the shoreline.

Fernandez Bay Village lent me their boat for an hour which was great – but you can rent a boat from Sailo.com for island-hopping in the Bahamas or wherever you are in the world. That way, you can take as much time as you want to explore.

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I especially loved Happy Hour with hors-d’oeuvres (my favorite: Caribbean Lobster Salad seasoned with lime and cilantro) and the famous “honor system” bar. It was always stocked with Fernandez Bay’s famous Rum Punch, as well as beer and wine. Buffet dinners included Bahamian specialties, like grouper and fried plantains, served under the stars. I was very pleased with the food!

Fernandez Bay Village from the sea
The Club House at Fernandez Bay Village is the resort’s central gathering spot and offers guests dining by the sea.
a fruit plate and coffee by a comfortable chair
I loaded a breakfast plate with fresh and wholesome foods for a great start to my day…yum!
breakfast with a view of the water
My morning view…pure heaven.
beautiful aqua water scene along the shore of Cat Island, Bahamas
Just look at that color!
green kayak on the beach
A kayak called me to explore the mangroves…
luxury room at Fernandez Bay Village
Loved my private beachfront accommodations in the Royal Palm Cottage. The big decision of the day? Afternoon nap here or in the hammock on the wraparound porch…
RELATED:  Looking for more perfect couples getaways? Check out some of the most romantic places to visit around the world.
close-up of bright pink Bougainvillea flower
Bougainvillea blooms brightly outside my cottage window on Cat Island, Bahamas.
beach-side bar at Fernandez Bay Village
The beach-side bar at Fernandez Bay Village is well stocked with rum punch and more. Yummy!
lounge chairs with a thatched umbrella on the beach
Yes, I could get used to this life very easily.
fine dining at sunset
Warm breezes, ocean air…Life is better at the beach!

Explore The Hermitage on Mount Alvernia

I arranged to rent a car for a couple of days to explore the island. It was relatively inexpensive. (FYI, even though I let my U.S. bank know I was traveling out of the country, the transaction did require a phone call to process.)

One must-see attraction was The Hermitage. I climbed Mount Alvernia to see the small but impressive dwelling built single-handedly by Father Jerome. Stations of the Cross led up to Father Jerome’s remote home, the highest point in the Bahamas. I took in breathtaking water views from a peaceful vantage point on high.

The Hermitage at Mount Alvernia (Como Hill)
It was worth the walk up Mount Alvernia, also known as Como Hill to see the Hermitage.
View from the highest elevation in the Bahamas
The elevation at the peak of Mount Alvernia is the highest in the Bahamas. Here, Fr. Jerome single-handedly built what’s known as “The Hermitage.”
Ocean view from the hermitage on Cat Island
You can catch a perfect ocean view on high as seen through an archway of the hermitage, or ring the tower bell.

Experience Local Flavor at The Regatta at the Beach

I also visited the Regatta, where we hear there is a booming nightlife. During the day it’s pretty quiet, but lovely just the same. It’s the gathering place for locals on the island. I passed an island party getting ready for a beach wedding. How romantic!

Cat Island Regatta
A dog guards a brightly painted building at the Cat Island Regatta.
Palm trees painted with a colorful base at The Regatta beach
One of the best places on earth is under a palm tree.
crystal clear water in the Bahamas
Gentle waves take on a surreal color in the Caribbean Sea.

Tour the Beauty of Cat Island Off the Beaten Path

I found some of the most memorable sites off the beaten path. Beautiful ruins and colorful homes dotted the island’s curving coastal roads. I loved the natural beauty and meeting interesting people wherever I went as I toured the island from head to toe.

Abandoned property on the water
An abandoned property is a beautiful contrast to the aqua shores of Cat Island, Bahamas.
close-up of purple wildflowers with dew
Wildflowers glistened with dew…their simple beauty makes me smile.
Islander cleaning fish outside Da Smoke Pot
Fish doesn’t get fresher than this! Prep work outside Da Smoke Pot in Cat Island, Bahamas.
A collection of pink conch shells on the shore
I was delighted to find a collection of giant conch shells along the shore from which to choose.
Smiling island woman making a basket
Next, I met a lovely woman weaving straw into hats, purses, placements and more…beautiful work!
Bahamian home with layers of colorful paint
Colorful layers of weathered paint, like a fine patina, add character to these Bahamian homes.
Rusting shipwreck on the shore of Cat Island Bahamas
I wouldn’t mind being shipwrecked on Cat Island. Would you?

Enjoy Drinks and Music at Greenwood Beach Resort

I happened upon Greenwood Beach Resort to take a midday break and decided to celebrate my birthday here in an island way with a tasty pina colada with the host.

Feeling Adventurous?

The Atlantic side of the island was quite a bit windier than Fernandez Bay but just as lovely. For the more adventurous, Greenwood Beach is an excellent place for diving, snorkeling, and kiteboarding. Also, sportfishing–more specifically, bonefishing–is very good here!

two pina coladas at Greenwood Beach Resort
I celebrated with a cold piña colada at Greenwood Beach Resort. Yummy!

Behold One Colorful Island Sunset after Another

If you’re looking for a private island paradise, this may just be it. It is certainly mine. Eight incredible days culminated with one colorful sunset after another. I’d love to say everyone should visit Cat Island, but part of its appeal is it is not overrun with tourism. It’s a romantic, remote, getaway…that’s for sure.

Beach chairs and umbrella overlooking beautiful waterfront sunset
Ahh…sunset. You never disappoint me in the Bahamas.
vibrant orange sun set and puffy clouds over the water
Did I mention that each sunset seems to be better than the last one Cat Island, Bahamas?
stripes of color over the water at sunset
Another spectacular sunset over Fernandez Bay. That’s a wrap!
sunset and sailboat on the north side of Cat Island
The sunset silhouettes a beautiful shipwreck on the north side of Cat Island.
Jackie Gately at the beach on Cat Island
Ahh….paradise found.

I loved Cat Island, Bahamas!

Have you been to Cat Island or another island destination we might love as well? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

39 thoughts on “A Beach Lover’s Winter Getaway to Cat Island, Bahamas”

  1. Anchored off Cat Island for a few days in 2013 but was in a mad rush to get to the Pacific Ocean so didn’t explore it as deeply as you. Your posts make me want to sail back here right now (although I hope never to be shipwrecked there 😉

    • Oh, I hope you get back for a visit sometime! Not that I wish to be shipwrecked, but I couldn’t pick a better place to come ashore if it were to happen!

  2. I love this because I love Cat Island. We have been there many times & every time is an adventure. We live in Savannah Georgia & have a small plane that for some reasons always ends up somewhere in the Bahamas on a remote piece of paradise.??

    • How lucky to have been to Cat Island many times…If I had a small plane, I’m almost certain it would follow the same route. You got it right, Angie: Cat Island truly is an island paradise!

  3. Wow wow wow! This is a true paradise!! Those views from sunrise to sunset are just breathtaking, and your bowl of fresh fruits is making us realize how much we’re longing for a week on an island like this! The fact that there’s no huge malls and luxurious hotels are just perfect. We’re adding Cat Island to our bucket list right away! Thank you so much for sharing this.

    • I do hope you get there, Mei and Kerstin! Cat Island is on our short list for a return trip. As you say, it is a true paradise!

  4. Oh, I haven’t reached the Carribeans yet, but this island really makes one want to get on the plane 🙂 and it’s nice that you get so many activities. I love kayaking, and my husband fishing, so I am pretty sure we wouldn’t get bored. Thanks for sharing this

  5. Aah yes.. your pictures took me right there i could almost smell the ocean! This looks like a perfect honeymoon destination where it would seem the rest of the world does not exist. I really hope i get to the Bahamas one day, i have always read the locals are really friendly too.

  6. I was actually expecting a photo gallery of cats, but I must say you’ve got me clicking. 🙂 Just kidding, your photos and experience on the island seem exhilarating.

  7. Love all the pictures! The sea and the pink beach is breathtaking. Have never seen such real non-styled photos of Bahamas. The fresh fish and the heavenly sunset sounds such a wonderful combination. Thanks for sharing!

  8. First of all, happy birthday! So good to spent your day in paradise 😉 This island seems really amazing…

  9. Great post. The beaches of Cat Island look amazing, especially during sunsets. Wish to visit one day.

  10. Wow, this is a dream vacation! May have to wait until the kids are big enough to leave at home :))) The sunset/boat photo is amazing!

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